The Clock Is Ticking

There’s still time.  Much of the sensationalistic coverage since October has completely missed the point, argue defenders.  THCB reader Hiro Kawashima had this to say:

“What became clear is that President Obama’s most formidable enemy isn’t the Republican Party, angry insurers or antsy Congressional Democrats; it is time. The PPACA is running against the clock and what the PPACA needs most is time to work. Even before the bill was signed into law, it was clear that the true financial benefit of PPACA would not be realized for a decade. Each failure, each negative portrayal and each angry consumer shaves an additional second off the clock. The President’s proposed administrative fix will buy time for the White House to get the healthcare.gov website working and regain control of the narrative.

If none of the reasons above made any sense to you, here is an analogy from President Obama:

One way I described this to — I met with a group of senators when this issue first came up — and it’s not a perfect analogy — but we made a decision as a society that every car has to have a seatbelt or airbags.  And so you pass a regulation.  And there are some additional costs, particularly at the start of increasing the safety and protections, but we make a decision as a society that the costs are outweighed by the benefits of all the lives that are saved.  So what we’re saying now is if you’re buying a new car, you got to have a seatbelt.

Well, the problem with the grandfather clause that we put in place is it’s almost like we said to folks, you got to buy a new car, even if you can’t afford it right now.  And sooner or later, folks are going to start trading in their old cars.  But we don’t need — if their life circumstance is such where, for now at least, they want to keep the old car, even if the new car is better, we should be able to give them that option.  And that’s what we want to do.”

9 replies »

  1. Like everything the government becomes involved in…it becomes a hot mess!
    There are no easy answers unfortunately.

  2. The WSJ published a list of the upcoming Obamacare “shoes to drop” but their list did not include the millions who will have a break in their coverage beginning Jan 1. Why not? Is there some way those people will have coverage even if the websites and exchanges do not allow them to enroll in Obamacare by Dec 15 (or 23)?
    To me this seems like by far the biggest crisis to come.

  3. LOL. The Hill article is a great read. Senior staffers should be making pretty good money and so should be able to afford it. A lot of them earn in excess of $150k per annum. $684 for a gold plan per month for a 55 year does not strike me as being very expensive even before ACA.

    This said maybe it encourages them to work for lobbyists where they’d earn a great deal more.

    As much as I have zero sympathy for said staffers given that some of them probably worked on the bill; there is a real issue here that we are seeing in the individual market and will be seeing in large/small employer and union markets going forward.

    As I mentioned above people have fixed costs so if they are paying 3x more then they have to come up with an additional $400 per month – roughly $5k per annum. Not necessarily easy.

    As per alternatives, it’s the problem with being a rigid ideologue. A lot of progressives are PINO – progressive in name only.

    There are any number of ways to get everyone to have access to health care so you have to chose the way that’s most doable and ACA isn’t it.

    The dems wouldn’t budge – it had to be big government – ala only govt. can do this (HC.gov suggests otherwise). So it was more about govt. doing everything for people rather than finding an affordable way to do it.

  4. The Hill, Healthwatch, 11-21-13: Older aides see O-Care costs eat checks:

    “Older congressional staff say their out-of-pocket healthcare costs will rise three or four times after they enter the ObamaCare insurance exchanges. The economic shock has led Democratic chiefs of staff to call for changing the rules. . . .”

    Disheartening to see those who labored so industriously for “equality of access” be so crudely lumped with the Common Herd. Surely a “waiver” will be forthcoming.

    There were conservative alternatives, but you don’t want to hear them.

  5. I’d say there’s far too much emotion/ego on both sides of the issue, which is not conducive to fixing anything.

    The following comment addresses one of the larger problems with the law.

    “it was clear that the true financial benefit of PPACA would not be realized for a decade.”

    I don’t buy this, but for the sake of argument let’s say it’s true.

    Keep in mind you’re not building a $20 billion bridge, financing it with bonds, putting a toll on it and recouping the money spent in 10 years via the tolls. We’re talking about individuals paying a lot more.

    Many above the subsidy line are going to be spending a great deal more on medical costs every month, which is a mix of premiums and higher out of pocket expenses.

    People have fixed costs and budgets so some will not be able to afford ACA and others will be able to afford it, but it will strain their budgets. In both cases people will be quite angry. It’s only the well to do to very rich that won’t be hurt and this is a much smaller percentage of the population than people realize.

    ACA is architected to stick it to the middle class as this is the only way you can get revenue to pay for those with less.

    Until we see these savings 10 years out a vulgar amount of money will be sucked out of every other vertical market and it’s the next 2-3 years where one has problems. A lot of people are going to lose their jobs.

    You now have to carry more people, which means those working pay more and since they have less disposable income more get laid off.

    So to avoid this and more voter backlash the money supply will be further increased. We are nearing the end of the Fed’s ability to continue quantitative easing without tanking the market and then all bets are off.

    In English ACA needs to be repealed or it will destroy the economy making ACA the greatest Pyrrhic victory in recent memory.

    On a side note the air bag example is quite wrong. It was added to higher end cars first then they drove costs down with high yield mass manufacturing and brought it to all cars – driver, then passenger, then side. Add to this it’s a one time hit of maybe $1k to $500 for average cars. ACA is every month.

    The repubs had no fix and the dems made it worse perhaps we need a 3rd party.

  6. Yes it’s a mess and the insurance companies had to call in the Quants for new models because of this, something they had not anticipated but they model all the time, just a little larger project than the actuaries could handle, need Quant math models.. Not much choice here for the President even though it’s only 5% of the entire insured population but people need help to afford and transition.


    And just like the markets, it’s the continuous rise and fall of the machines running 24/7 making life impacting decisions about all of us, just different sets of algorithms..and the numbers and stats shuffle out.